What is Eco-entitlement, and could you be guilty of it?
Put simply, eco-entitlement refers to the advocacy of or speaking harshly against certain practices affecting the environment, without first considering the unique circumstances of the audiences who might receive your message. It can even be a way of thinking— even if you don’t express your opinion openly, eco-entitlement can lead to prejudices against certain groups, especially as it relates to financial classes.
How does it manifest?
The best way to explain how eco-entitlement may sneak onto the scene without your notice is examples. The first one that comes to mind was the flint Michigan water bottle situation. This was during a time when the war on plastic water bottles was at it’s peak, and posts everywhere spoke about how selfish and lazy it was to drink out of them. This message negatively affected the motivation of eco-enthusiasts in Flint, where there was no clean tap water and thus, no way of avoiding those plastic bottles— they needed them to survive. Of course, it wasn’t the intention of climate activists to guilt people in Michigan about the bottles, but that’s what happened. The culprit? Eco-entitlement. Those advocating operated under the assumption that everyone’s situation was similar to their own, and it was therefore inexcusable to deviate from what they considered to be right.
This also pops up when talking about veganism— because of circumstance, not everyone is able to be a Vegan. This concept can be hard to grasp and easy to forget for someone who’s been privileged enough to have always had control over their choices, and so it’s these people who must work the hardest to overcome eco-entitlement.
How to avoid it?
Do research, and think before you speak. an easy way to avoid this trap is to add a bit of kindness to your message— instead of bashing everyone who does a certain thing, you can highlight the benefits of not doing that ting. negativity, name-calling, and anger directed at the general public for doing things like using plastic straws or buying from non eco-friendly companies rarely encourages anyone to do better for the environment. On the other hand, encouraging others with positivity and helpful tips can yield fine results.
Have you ever been effected by eco-entitlement? Do you agree or disagree with my take on it? Please tell me down below (I appreciate comments so much!)